Arabidopsis thaliana is a small flowering plant of mustard family, brassicaceae (Cruciferae). It is distributed throughout the world and was first reported in the sixteenth century by Johannes Thal. It has been used for over fifty years to study plant mutations and for classical genetic analysis. It is now being used as a model organism to study different aspects of plant biology.
A. thaliana is a diploid plant with 2n = 10 chromosomes. It became the first plant genome to be fully sequenced based on the fact that it has a (1) small genome of ~120 Mb with a simple structure having few repeated sequences (2) short generation time of six weeks from seed germination to seed set, and (3) produces large number of seeds. The sequencing was done by an international collaboration collectively termed the Arabidopsis Genome Initiative (AGI). Though of no economic importance, it is an invaluable resource to agriculturally important crops, particularly to members of the same family, which includes canola, an important source of vegetable oil. EST/mRNA alignments to the Genome are available for ftp download. They are in the Splign format.